Colchicum Autumnale

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How can it be 1st October already??! Before time runs away from me even more and the moment passes, here is something that we did in September.

We have Colchicum Autumnale, also known as Autumn Crocus, Meadow Saffron or even Naked Ladies, in one of our fields and we continue the work of the previous owners in counting the flowers each Autumn and passing on the numbers to the county recorder for the Botanical Society for Great Britain and Ireland.

These pretty wild flowers are rare nowadays but ours survive and thrive because the field has not been ploughed for ...

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September is here and change is in the air

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Is anyone else feeling that Autumn has been in a bit of a hurry this year? The end of the Summer seems to have occurred rather abruptly with cooler temperatures and unsettled weather pushing their way through August with much haste and determination. I have so enjoyed the long, hot days of Summer, a “proper Summer” of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out on the patio for weeks, with glorious sunshine to help us feel well from the increased amounts of vitamin D being absorbed through our skin, where our water butts ran dry a couple of times (even in ...

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The chicks are here!

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I am almost three weeks behind sharing this news on here! The fertile eggs I put under broody Betty hatched on 30 May, at least some of them, and we have been enjoying seeing chicks grow and learn with her.

Out of the six eggs, two hatched and we have two live chicks. We were down to five eggs anyway as we had broken one egg when we lifted Betty out of the coop once to encourage her to go for a poo, a bite to eat and a bit of drink. We were concerned she would lose condition sitting ...

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A broody hen

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Last week, I noticed that our mother hen, Betty, was behaving oddly. She spent a lot of time preening herself and was scratching in places where there was nothing to scratch... she was also spending an increasing amount of time in the coop when she laid her egg each day. She appeared distracted, a bit giddy and "on edge". Then, one morning, I found her in the coop, all spread out on what looked like a nest and in a sort of trance! I knew then that she was broody. I read up all sorts of information about it and ...

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Goodbye, little Chalkie

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My last blog entry two weeks ago ended with the joys of new lambs bringing playful energy onto the smallholding. Sadly, this post is about the sudden death of one of them.

Twin brothers Charlie and Chalkie, as we settled to call them, were coming up to three weeks old, playing in the field happily and with bounds of energy. Both seemed to be growing well and loved to jump on the hay bale we had put in the field for them. They were becoming increasingly inquisitive, always together and learning to nibble on grass whilst spending more and more ...

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Spring - the season for new beginnings

It's the Spring Equinox today and from now light makes significant gains over dark as days get longer and longer till the Summer Solstice. Winter is receding to be replaced by Spring, a season which brings renewed hope and energy for new beginnings.

This year, Winter appears reluctant to loosen its grip: we are only just emerging out of a very cold few days with a significant amount of snow and wind that left us snowed in for a couple of days for the second time this month. Spring serves as a transition season, a buffer between opposites Winter ...

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A very chilly St David's Day!

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Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David's Day! The only daffodils around are those bought at the market last week and now in the vase on the dining table. They brighten the house with their vibrant colour and scent. The ones growing outside are a few weeks off yet - and may have suffered a setback with this week's snow, freezing temperatures and wind aka The Beast from the East and Storm Emma!

With extreme weather, life on the smallholding becomes stressful because it is tough to keep basic needs met. It's a struggle to keep sheep and ...

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Lambskins... they're back from the tannery

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When we sent two of our lambs to slaughter in September, I brought back their skins so I could have them made into rugs. They came back from the tannery this week and they are gorgeous!

Lambskins are a by-product of having a lamb slaughtered for meat and usually they are not returned to the producer. Some abattoirs send some to tanneries for them to be processed into rugs but most are thrown away. When we were thinking about keeping sheep and raising lambs for meat, I thought it was a waste and I looked into rug making from lambskins ...

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Snowed in!

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After a weekend of heavy snow fall, we are snowed in! Peter stayed at home today as there was no way he would attempt to drive down the hill to work. Getting out of our drive alone would have been a challenge with 18 cm of snow and a fair amount of ice too!

Once the sheep were fed with plenty of fresh bedding in their shelters and hay in the racks and once we had broken the ice off the drinkers and water troughs, we enjoyed walks to take photos. Especially today as the sun was out and the ...

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A (not so gentle) introduction to hen keeping

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Two weeks ago, we purchased four hens and their coop. Their keeper, from just over the hill from us, was moving away into rented accommodation and could not take them with them. We collected the coop first and got it ready for the hens. Betty, a Splash Maran, and her brood (a Light Sussex, a Speckledy and a Blubell) arrived in cardboard boxes at night time and we transferred them into their own coop but at their new location at ours. They made a little fuss but quickly settled in for the night.

The next morning, I let them out ...

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